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On 18 May, the Study Quality Committee made a decision to accredit the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Psychology study direction for the maximum possible period of six years. All three study programmes (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral) are well prepared on both a national and international level.

When evaluating the programmes, the Accreditation Commission emphasised the national advantage that the psychology direction at RSU. The direction has defined its niche as focusing on health, which makes it stand out among other psychology programmes in Latvia. The studies are aligned with the requirements of the regulated profession and are implemented by highly qualified lecturers, which ensures the quality and efficiency of studies. There is an appropriate infrastructure and environment to implement the studies. Students value these aspects highly. Secondly, the report stresses that psychology studies are fully compliant with international requirements, namely European standards for the organisation of psychology studies of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations. The experts also noted the student-oriented support system, in particular the rapid adaptation to COVID-19 requirements, the well-prepared study materials, and the ability to be flexible in restructuring the study process for distance learning.

Thinking about the future

Among the most significant innovations at the time of accreditation is the introduction of distance learning in the bachelor’s programme. Distance learning will be implemented using a variety of modern technology approaches and formats, as well as evidence-based, methodological study approaches.

In order to further improve the quality of studies, special attention will be paid to a more multifaceted link between research and studies, cooperation and internationalisation, as well as digitisation. The resource linking research and studies is students’ involvement in various research projects, cooperation with the Psychology Laboratory, participation in Vertically Integrated Projects, students’ participating in conferences with presentations, preparing master’s theses as publications, and disseminating research ideas, which all need to be developed further.

It should be mentioned that students have participated in the international conference Health and Personality Development: An Interdisciplinary Approach as part of their psychology studies for eight years already. Students report that working in teams with experienced researchers makes them appreciate the value of intergenerational collaboration, which in turn allows them to acquire and develop competences not only in research but also in their professional field.

As regards cooperation and internationalisation, there are plans to continue to be active in projects with various other Latvian universities: the University of Latvia, Daugavpils University, the Art Academy of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Rēzekne Academy of Technologies, etc. In terms of internationalisation, there are plans to attract at least three international visiting professors to work with the programmes on a long-term basis. It should be noted that nearly 20 guest lecturers have worked in the programmes in short term during this accreditation period. There are also plans to develop the use of various digitalisation solutions in studies, as technology is now an indispensable tool for psychologists.

We thank the professional team at RSU and our supporters!

It is clear that the high evaluation that the study direction has received is due not only to the lecturers and students, but also to university management, graduates and employers who actively participated in the characterisation and accreditation process. We express our gratitude to the professional and efficient team who provided invaluable support during the accreditation process!